By Kate Davidson Hudson
With the advent of athleisure and a boost in demand for luxe leisurewear options, few brands are as well poised as 8-year old wunderkind, Solid & Striped to become one of the most versatile brands in your closet. Known for its approachable luxury price point, Solid & Striped was originally founded as a swim line that quickly cultivated the likes of fashion editors and celebrities. The brand is now earning its stripes in the broader lifestyle arena with a host of cross-category collaborations and new product launches that makes good on its promise to deliver a timeless collection of ‘everything under the sun’.
Helming this growth, Sarah Landman came on as CEO of the brand one year ago and hard-coded a growth roadmap predicated on the brand’s further expansion into the beauty, accessory, and activewear categories. A strategy that felt like a natural extension of the Solid & Striped customer’s lifestyle.
Once the pandemic hit, those plans shifted into overdrive, as travel came to a near halt and the demand for elevated active and leisurewear options hit an all-time high.
As Landman explains, “the aim has really always been to evolve [Solid & Striped] into a leisure and vacation lifestyle brand. We have such an amazing following and such a loyal customer, we found any time we delivered a new category by way of a collaboration, or the like, she [and he] wanted more”. When the pandemic hit, as Landman recounts, the business was forced to accelerate their development plans to meet the changing needs of its consumer base, “the plan was always to launch active, accessories, and ready-to-wear in a more meaningful way. So instead of rolling that out over the next twenty-four months, we started to pull back a little bit on our swim development and made some room for these new categories to launch sooner.”
The Solid & Striped founding ethos was to create a swim range, using all of the same high-quality materials the designer brands employed but, targeting the white space in the swim market between mass and designer price points. This pricing strategy, coupled with the brand’s clean and classic aesthetic, proved to hit the sweet spot of consumer interest and quickly took hold as one of the new brands to watch on editor and influencer radars. So it’s of little surprise that the brand’s first activewear launch this December would be in collaboration with another cult-favorite brand, athletic wear line Bandier.
Building on its initial success in the athletic wear space, Solid & Striped plans to launch its independent in-house activewear brand, Solid & Striped Sport, in March 2021. The pricing will mirror that of the Solid & Striped swim line, with the collection topping out at approximately $150 for the most expensive piece. As Landman explains, activewear product design flexes a different design muscle than swim, to that end Solid & Striped Sport is anchored in a studied focus on construction and as she sees it, “the fit is so good we were really able to leverage [Bandier’s] expertise at fabric, fit, and technical which is quite different than swim, so that is a huge advantage.”
Other spokes in the Solid & Striped lifestyle brand wheel materialized accessory collaborations with eyewear brand LeSpecs, a skincare line, and an evolution of their eponymous ready-to-wear range, which Landman describes as separates one can wear to the beach. So far, brand extensions are proving to be a strategic win for Landman and the label. “In terms of category penetration, what we’re seeing a lot of success in right now is ready-to-wear, our [RTW] business has doubled in size year-over-year.
Our swim business is the majority of the business, but we’re seeing that especially now with the lack of travel, our girl is coming to us now for more than just swim”, asserts Landman.
Next fall, the brand plans to launch its first [non-beach-centric] ready-to-wear capsule, featuring an assortment of cashmere sweaters and luxe loungewear, which will be an entirely new season for the brand. As Landman continues to hone the brand’s focus on cultivating and building upon their roster of compelling strategic partnerships, including a renewed sunglass partnership coming off the heels of their highly-successful collaborative debut with LeSpec, to collaborations with denim line Redone, Staud, and Il Pellicano.
2021 will see the addition of fresh collaborations with New York-based accessories designer, Lele Sadoughi on a co-branded range of hairpieces and hats. Along with a forthcoming Spring ’21 collaboration with popular leisure line, Sporty & Rich. The next year will also realize a sustainable footwear launch- which, as Landman points out- builds upon the sharp sustainability focus that has been core to the Solid & Striped DNA since inception.
As Landman sees it, opportunity is everywhere and Solid & Striped is poised to become the luxe accessible brand to outfit every moment of your day. With a directive so tightly rooted in timeless style and versatility, there are three core pieces from the brand that Landman looks to as the must-haves in any well-curated closet.
“This is our answer to the Little Black Swimsuit. It is the perfect one piece. This is actually the piece we launched our women’s collection with so it’s a classic for us. It comes in four colors but I would say the black Anne Marie is definitely a must-have. I actually wear it as a bodysuit under a blazer, often- and it works seamlessly. It’s sort of this multi-purpose workhorse that you just live in.”
“Our take on an oversized men’s button-down, It’s a best seller for us. We do it in a bunch of different variations but there is a multicolor one that I love. I wear it under sweaters for Zoom meetings but also as a cover-up on the beach, it just covers your butt so it’s the right length”.
“This legging has a center-front zip and it’s a double-bonded fabric. And, I keep telling my friends it’s the most amazing legging because it sort of sucks you in, it’s a compression fabric that is also so cozy this time of year [if you live in the Northeast].”